Eighth China Round Table

Accessions and WTO reform: On the Road to MC12

The Eighth China Round Table is funded by the Government of China, hosted by the Government of Russian Federation, and organized by the WTO Secretariat, as part of the agreed activities under the China-WTO MOU(1).  Please note that the 8th China Round Table will take place on 4-5 December 2019 followed by a meeting of acceding governments on 6 December 2019.

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow Hotel, Russian Federation

Objectives and programme

As the global economy is undergoing change at an unprecedented pace, the multilateral trading system has recently come under pressure. G20 Leaders at their Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2018, called for the need for "necessary reforms" of the WTO, while recognizing the important contribution of the multilateral trading system. In Osaka, Japan, in June 2019, the G20 Leaders reaffirmed their support for the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functions and pledged to work constructively with other WTO Members in the lead up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June 2020, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. In Geneva, WTO Members, individually or as group, have tabled a number of initiatives and proposals aimed at improving the functioning of the WTO. They cover a wide range of issues, including transparency, notifications, special and differential (S&D) treatment, work of the WTO regular bodies and the dispute settlement system.

In parallel, groups of like-minded Members are deepening their engagement on the Joint Initiatives, which were first launched at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2017, to deliver progress on so-called new issues. These include: E-Commerce, Investment Facilitation, Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), Domestic Regulation in Services, and Women's Economic Empowerment. The efforts of the participants are aimed to make the multilateral trading system more responsive to the evolving needs of the  global economy.

WTO Members have now begun the preparation for MC12, which is hosted by Kazakhstan, one of the most recently acceded Members(2). This will be also the first Ministerial gathering to be held at the heart of Eurasia where more than a half of Article XII Members are originated. WTO accessions, through the results achieved in Article XII negotiations to date, have important contributions to make to the on-going discussions on WTO Reform. By undertaking commitments in support of their ambitious accession-related domestic reforms, Article XII Members have ensured that the multilateral trading system moves forward from the levels of commitments of original Members. With 36 Article XII Members, which account for over one-fifth of the WTO Membership, and with a further 22 economies in the accession queue, it is inevitable that the results of accession negotiations will continue to inform discussions on the future of the multilateral trading system and will accompany the evolution of the rules and operation of the WTO.

The Eighth China Round Table, which takes place just six months before MC12, has provided a timely context for a dialogue on WTO Reform, with a focus on the contributions of WTO accessions. The China Round Table has served as a forum for the preparation for MC12, especially for Acceding Governments, which plan their first ministerial gathering, in the setting of the Informal Group of Acceding Governments (IGAG), in Nur-Sultan. The specific objectives of the Round Table are:

  1. To exchange views on the contributions of WTO Accessions to WTO Reform;
  2. To discuss the implications of regional integration on the multilateral trading system; and,
  3. To provide a platform for Members and acceding governments to exchange experiences and lessons, in view of the preparation for MC12.

Programme

The programme of the Eighth China Round Table is structured into the five sessions:
Session 1: Accessions and WTO Reform;
Session 2: Joint Initiatives and WTO Accessions;
Session 3: WTO Accessions - State of Play;
Session 4: Regional Integration and WTO Accessions; and,
Session 5: Preparation for MC12.
To enable a lively exchange during the China Round Table, all participants are invited to actively participate in the discussions and be ready to fill one or more designated roles, such as that of a panellist, a commentator, or a moderator.
The China Round Table is followed by a meeting of acceding governments on 6 December 2019(3).

  1. In July 2011, the Government of the People's Republic of China signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the WTO Secretariat on the China LDCs' and Accessions Programme ("The China Programme"). The Programme has been extended on a yearly basis, with the latest signed on 18 November 2019.  The China Programme has five pillars, including the WTO Accessions Internship Programme and the annual Accession Round Table, designed to build capacity and technical skills in trade policy, including on accession negotiations, for acceding governments and Article XII Members, especially from least-developed countries. back to text
  2. Kazakhstan became the 162nd Member of the WTO on 30 November 2015. back to text
  3. This meeting is restricted to acceding governments only. back to text

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